Black hair

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about hair that is black in color. For information regarding hair that is the texture of unprocessed African hair, see Afro-textured hair.
A woman with black hair
A man with black hair

Black hair is the darkest and most common of all human hair colors globally, due to larger populations with this dominant trait. It is a dominant genetic trait, and it is found in people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. It has large amounts of eumelanin and is less dense than other hair colors.[1] Sometimes very dark brown (blackish-brown) hair is mistaken for black. In English, black hair is sometimes described as soft-black, raven black, or jet-black. The range of skin colors associated with black hair is vast, ranging from the palest of light skin tones to dark skin. Black-haired humans can have dark or light eyes.


This is likely the original hair color of Homo sapiens[citation needed], and is found in its greatest distribution in Africa, Asia, and the pre-Columbian Americas. Black hair is also particularly common in people of Asia, Southern Europe, parts of South America and Africa regardless of ethnolinguistic affiliation. It is notably concentrated among Celtic peoples of Europe. For example, the Spanish, French, Portuguese, Irish, Welsh and Cornish are particularly noted for their straight to wavy hair, deep brown hair (that can be confused with black hair) and it can be combined with either dark (such as brown) or light (such as green, gray or blue) colored eyes. Irish people with these traits are sometimes known as the "Black Irish".[2] Though this characteristic can be seen in people throughout the United Kingdom, it becomes more common in parts of Central, Southern and especially Eastern Europe.[3]

Dark haired people, ranging from dark chestnut and deep brown to black, with either dark or light colored eyes, can also be seen among the Indo-European and non-Indo-European ethnic groups in Iran, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and North India. Raven-Black hair is black hair with a blue tint[citation needed]; the coloration can range from navy blue to midnight blue, and is found in people of African, Latin American, South Asian and Southeast Asian descent. Off-black hair is a dark grey hair coloration that can be confused with jet black hair, and is caused by a lower amount of black eumelanin. It is found in some people of Asian and Native American descent.[4][5][6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Frost, Peter. "Why Do Europeans Have So Many Hair and Eye Colors?" (summarizing Frost, P. 2006. European hair and eye color - A case of frequency-dependent sexual selection? Evolution and Human Behavior 27:85-103)
  2. ^ Hornbeck, Shirley Elro (2000-01-01). This and that Genealogy Tips. Genealogical Publishing Com. ISBN 9780806350271. 
  3. ^ The Distribution of Anthropological Traits in Europe, Bertil Lundman: The Races and Peoples of Europe (New York 1977)
  4. ^ Day, John V. (Fall 2002). "In Quest of Our Linguistic Ancestors: The Elusive Origins of the Indo-Europeans" (PDF). The Occidental Quarterly. 2 (3): 5–20. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  5. ^ "A small peasant girl - Khorasan, Iran". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Races of Man and Their Distribution". Retrieved 17 December 2014. 

External links[edit]